Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 22 September 2022:
1 Samuel 27:1 — Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul.”
David lost hope and made a questionable choice. Our decision-making is affected by our M-E-P-S strength – Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual. David was likely mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted which affected him spiritually. We must be careful about decisions we make when we are weak mentally, emotionally, or physically. We must rely more on our spiritual strength which is cultivated over time (before you need it) through daily, genuine relationship with Jesus.
1 Samuel 27:5-7 – Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be given me in one of the country towns, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?” So that day Achish gave him Ziklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. And the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
Relying in his own wisdom and strength (which seemed to work), David entangled himself in relationships with the ungodly. This reminds me of when Abraham went back to Egypt.
1 Samuel 27:10 – When Achish asked, “Where have you made a raid today?” David would say, “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Kenites.”
Deception is an acceptable part of warfare, but in this case, David was violating a personal trust of hospitality which was unrighteous.
1 Samuel 27:12 – And Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant.”
Having turned to the ungodly for sanctuary, David lived a deceitful, bloody life, returning evil for good – “And Achish trusted David.” Though these were the enemies of Israel, they entered into a relationship of trust with David, yet David reduced himself to their practices which had been used to victimize the Israelites for years.
Hebrews 6:1-6 — Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
The Bible says, “without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” In faith, we must truly believe in grace (salvation and sanctification as a free gift from God, enabled by Him and not by us) while we diligently seek Him with complete confidence in His perfect, unending, unchanging, everlasting love for us, despite ourselves (Romans 8:31-39). If we believe in grace, we will walk in the freedom of grace with confidence, peace, and joy, and we will naturally produce the fruit of love and good works, which are labors of love (not pride or fear), as we abide in God’s love. We will produce much fruit as we cultivate and harvest in love, but we won’t struggle to create artificial, man-made fruit which any farmer knows is impossible.
Hebrews 6 could be speaking to two audiences: the legalists, who have turned away from grace and have returned to the futile pursuit of self-righteousness through adherence to the law and rules in an attempt to earn salvation and to produce sanctification from their own merit; and/or the apostates who have acknowledged grace, have experienced grace but have continued to live in willful disobedience, trampling on the Gospel and the blood of Christ. Both groups sat in church and participated in church activities but were dishonoring God, working against the Gospel in their lives and the lives of others, and were lacking the fullness of joy that comes by faith in the sufficiency of grace through faith in Jesus.
Faith calls us to grow in love while placing all our confidence on God’s love, understanding that both our salvation and our sanctification rest securely in the power of God rather than in our own power. We are not yet perfected in love, but as we abide in God’s love, we remain confident in His acceptance despite our imperfection while we continue to strive for perfection. We trust that He is working all things together (even our failures) for good in our lives to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus; and we rest in confidence, awaiting the Day of His final restoration when He will make all things new – “And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.” (Hebrews 6:15)
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20) Let grace be the anchor of your soul, and don’t quench the Spirit by failing to enter the inner place behind the curtain with Christ because you somehow feel you haven’t “earned” the right or because you feel free to remain on the others side. Remain in the presence of God because He loves you just as you are and wants you to experience Him to the fullest. While in His presence, give Him the honor He deserves.
Hebrews 6:10-12 — God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6 speaks of an expectation of fruitfulness in the lives of the truly saved. Paul warns not to be lazy in obeying God. Rather than being “sluggish” in our new lives for Christ, Paul encourages us to be “imitators” of those who have modeled holiness and Christ-like character before us. Who within your church models the type of life you would desire to imitate? If someone were to poll your church congregation, your place of employment, or your community, how many people would pick you as their model for Christ-like character, the person they would most desire to imitate? God warns against being lazy or complacent in your faith, as you just read in Isaiah 32:10-14.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 September 2022: Today, walk in complete gratitude and confidence in God’s grace while you diligently, fervently, wholeheartedly pursue Christlikeness.